Exploring Kenya’s Lesser-Known Parks
While Kenya is renowned for its popular destinations such as the Masai Mara, Rift Valley lakes, and Amboseli National Park, there are also some hidden gems that often go unnoticed.
Meru National Park
Meru National Park is a remote and rugged wilderness, which remains relatively unexplored, despite being the place where George and Joy Adamson released Elsa the lioness (of Born Free fame). The park, established in 1958, covers 87,000 hectares and features stunning scenery such as vast open plains, tropical forests, and bush. Rolling grasslands and riverine woodlands provide a habitat for the big five, as well as brightly-coloured kingfishers, bee-eaters, and occasionally Pel’s fishing owl. Elsa’s Kopje and Meru Wilderness are two fantastic options within the park.
Chyulu Hills National Park
The Chyulu Hills National Park, situated between Tsavo West National Park and Amboseli National Park, is one of Kenya’s least-known and least-visited reserves. The park offers diverse habitats and incredible views of Kilimanjaro to the south. Woodland savannah around Ol Donyo is home to elephants, buffalo, giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, and eland. The hilltops accessible from Campi ya Kanzi offer a completely different environment, with cloud forests that are home to exotic birds and chameleons. With only two luxury lodges in the area, guests can expect an exclusive and personalised experience.
Lake Turkana, extending 155 miles along the Great Rift Valley from the Ethiopian border, is Africa’s fourth-largest lake. Ol Malo Nomad offers private helicopter trips from their Laikipia base for a bird’s eye view of the extraordinary landscape of the Turkana region. The lake, often referred to as the Jade Sea due to its breathtaking colour, is a dramatic and relatively unexplored landscape with blackened lava flows, sand dunes, and collapsed craters that form Central Island. The island is home to giant crocodiles, tilapia, and flamingos, while the lake offers great fishing opportunities for Nile Perch.
Mount Kenya is the second-highest peak in Africa, standing at 5,199m and is visible from much of northern Kenya. The mountain boasts three jagged peaks with distinctive serrated outlines. Point Lenana can be reached via several hiking routes, taking 2-3 days, or day treks, while the other peaks require proper rock and mountain climbing skills. The diverse vegetation and wildlife change as you ascend through different climatic zones. Karisia offers fully supported Mount Kenya treks, using campsites away from the mountain huts.
We would be delighted to help you plan a safari encompassing any of the exclusive stays and trips mentioned here. Our team of experts has travelled widely throughout Africa and can offer expert advice on every type of safari from family and beach holidays to riding and primate safaris. Do get in touch – chatting to people by phone or email is what we do best. We listen, we explain, we answer all sorts of questions even those you didn’t know to ask, and finally we make suggestions. If this is your first time to Africa or your twenty first, we have a team standing by to help make the planning easy and the journey the best ever. Please get in touch whatever stage you’re at.